Dear Esther developer Thechineseroom is working on a new game called Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (see our interview with creative director Dan Pinchbeck for more on that game and their upcoming Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs).
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is the spiritual successor to Dear Esther, which was first released as a free mod in 2008.
“The concept of it is this almost ’60s-’70s Brit science fiction — this John Wyndham, John Christopher kind of thing — of how the end of the world would be responded to in a rural English location,” Pinchbeck told Beefjack.com. “It’s kind of like that film that was made after the Second World War about what would have happened if the Nazis had invaded — and actually, the film was so controversial because not a lot would actually change for the vast majority of people, or they’d just accept it really, really easily.”
The world is big, and players will have to travel diagonally for 20 minutes to move from one end to the other.
"But each time you play, your time is locked to just one hour," said Pinchbeck. "Whatever you’ve managed to experience and achieve at the end of that time is your story. You can then go back to the start, to see some of the stuff you missed."
Players can interact with the game's six characters, influencing their actions and the impact they have on the world.
"They’re almost kind of memory traces of people that were there and how we represent them, and whether we do full-on character builds or whether we do something more symbolic, we’re still kind of chewing around with," said Pinchbeck.
According to the creative director, it's possible to play Rapture by standing still and letting the world change around you. You'll still experience a story whether or not you actively participate in one.
The game will be more physically interactive than Dear Esther was, too, and will reward players for exploring and interacting.
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is due out for PC in summer 2013.
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